Yuzen is a resist dyeing technique that became the fashion for kimono at the end of the 17th century in Japan. Applying paste dye directly to fabric to prevent color transfer to other areas, Yuzen technique enables creating elaborate freehand designs with multiple colors.
The first step is to sketch design on the white fabric using aobana ink. Extracted from commelina communis, also known as Asiatic dayflower, aobana ink is soluble in water. Photos above are the sketches that Mr. Kosaka started on the kimono fabric. Reflecting Mr. Katsuyama’s medashi, the sketches are so fine!
It may not be obvious from the photo above, but did you notice that the white fabric is already sown together?
Kimono fabric is long and narrow. It is cut into 8 pieces and sawn together in the shape of a kimono. The design pattern of a Homongi runs through different pieces. In order to make sure that the design pattern doesn’t misalign over the pieces next to each other, the 8 pieces are temporarily stitched together before sketching the design. After the sketch with aobana ink is done, the pieces are disassembled, and stitched back together to the original long, narrow shape.